Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29th - Wednesday's Words

Wednesday seems to be that day that can send us in to a panic ("It's ALREADY Wednesday??") or bring discouragement ("It's ONLY Wednesday?") each week.  I'd like to try to shine some light on this day of doom by starting a weekly post with words of encouragement, amusement, and inspiration. 

This Week's Words:

Since my husband has been working so often the last few weeks, we have grown accustomed to seeing him in his button down "work shirts" 7 days a week (he wears them to church on Sundays too).  When he finally had a day off and was dressing for a visit with my grandparents, he came out of the bathroom wearing a polo shirt.   Our three year old bombarded him at the doorway, "You gotta be kidding me, Daddy. You're not wearing a work shirt?" she asked with abundant animation. Then she shook her head and walked away mumbling,  "Wow. You just gotta' be kidding me." like a little old lady. 
Nicodemus (a Pharisee) probably thought to himself: "You've got to be kidding me? Born AGAIN?" when he was caught off guard by Jesus' teaching of salvation:
"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." -John 3:4-7
Were you caught off guard by Jesus' teachings? Have you been born again?  For more on your personal salvation, read THIS
*Art by Rustic Cuff (Click image for shop info)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Searching through Christianity to find Christ - An Honest Word on Christian T-shirts

I saw someone wearing a t-shirt the other day that said, “Hardcore Christian” and I wondered what statement they were trying to make. I saw someone else wearing a t-shirt that said, “shut the f--- up”. I still haven’t decided which one is more offensive.

I can’t help but ask questions like, Why is there no evident difference between a believer and a nonbeliever, unless I read their shirt? Why is W.W.J.D stamped on a rubber wristband rather than our hearts? Why is Christianity a cheap novelty? Where is Christ in that?
Over the last 50 years we have allowed Christianity to be marketed through slogans and trinkets, rather than testimony and witness.  When the world wonders what it means to be a Christian, we shouldn’t be surprised that they look to the tangible items available.  But, it is a disgrace to know Christians are leading this parade.  So, what does it mean to be a Christian? In Ephesians (5:8) Paul says we are to “walk as children of light” as we are granted the “light of life”(spoken of by Jesus in John 8:12). The Lord addresses our role and our responsibility at the sermon on the mount:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Ye are the light of the world.–Matthew 5:13-14
When I hear a young girl say, “My mom is making us do everything Christian….Christian books, clothes, music… everything. I mean it’s okay to do Christian stuff sometimes, but we need a break, you know. We can’t be Christian all the time…”  I know we have lost our savor.  How shameful. And where is our light?  Is it in the cross necklaces around our necks? Is it in the fish stickers on our car bumpers? Is it on our t-shirt, bracelet, backpack, paperweight, or wind chime? Or is it nothing but a flicker…striving to shine through clever merchandising and lukewarm religion?
I know a popular “Christian” bookstore chain that sells T-shirts that read: “You need Jesus. I’m just sayin’.” Although it makes no apologies for the truth (everyone does need Jesus), it excuses the need for convicting evidence and truth spoken in love in order to send anyone seeking.  Cowardly declarations like these that reflect the ignorance of a current generation rather than the courage and truth of the gospel are damaging to our testimony as a whole.  When I saw that t-shirt, I thought, why wear that shirt when you could wear one that says: “I just made an assertion, but I am not going to back it up with anything....I am a judgmental coward that has no idea what I am talking about, but isn’t my t-shirt funny?”  But, where is Christ in that?
There is such a lack of reverence in modern Christianity. It really is embarrassing.  Somehow, growing up (in the church)  I got lost in the idea of fluffy Jesus…Jesus my friend….Jesus my pal….Jesus the go-to guy….Jesus the long haired hippy who loves all the red, yellow, black and white children of the world. These distorted concepts were driven by media and merchandising rather than Biblical truth.  Clearly I had never met Jesus my Savior (saving me from sure and eternal damnation) or Jesus my Lord (to reign in my life) or Jesus my Rock (the foundation of everything I think, decide, and act upon) or Jesus my Redeemer (who paid my ransom with his own blood). So, how could I claim to be a Christian? The same way everyone else did: with a necklace, a bumper sticker, and a clever t-shirt.  Where is Christ in that?
Hardcore Christians give their lives over to God in full service. They live sacrificially, sometimes in foreign environments, facing danger of persecution, torment, and death.  They spread the word of God, sharing the gospel with friend and foe, facing martyrdom with praise and thanksgiving.  They live in acknowledgement and repentance of their daily sins to maintain fellowship with the Lord. They seek the will of God in all endeavors and wear the whole armor of God as they fight a spiritual battle with Satan and his legions, fasting and praying without ceasing. They hide scripture in their heart so they may not sin against their Heavenly Father. They shine the light of life in this dark world. They are savory salt.  They DO NOT wear Christian T-shirts!